The life cycle of social networks, at least as far as companies are concerned, is clear: they appear, consumers discover them and fall in love with them (perhaps this is the state in which TikTok is now), companies they enter and position themselves, the results seem glorious and wonderful (the stage that companies have just left behind on Instagram) and suddenly the romance and wonder for the corporate accounts ends.
The classic example of this life cycle is Facebook. It appeared and triumphed among consumers and then came to those responsible for marketing, who saw in it an opportunity to grow and to do it for free (taking, of course, what they had to pay to whoever managed everything). They could achieve high exposure and create very dynamic communities, while their messages reached a lot of consumers, who viewed them with good eyes and received them with enthusiasm. It seemed perfect and, if he went to a conference on technology, internet and companies in those years, there was always a talk about the wonders of what could be achieved in social networks for four dollars.
But after the crush came the fiasco: suddenly, Facebook began to put ads everywhere and sell that advertising to companies. At the same time and in parallel, the organic scope was falling and the power of the social network for companies was limited. Facebook was announcing changes in its conditions that made the visibility of brand pages be reduced (explaining that they did it because those contents were not the ones that consumers wanted to see and that they preferred those of friends and family members), which led to the brands to pay to reach the users.
The organic reach was over and Facebook became a lesson in how social networks were not El Dorado for companies. It was not Facebook and it will not be those that are going to rise in the years that lie ahead. At the end of the day, social networks are not charitable organizations, but companies that seek to make cash and have income.
The moment of Instagram
When Facebook began to show symptoms of exhaustion, brands and companies were passed with their artillery to Instagram. The potential of that social network seemed clear. Consumers were launching to the conquest of Instagram and the numbers were very good. In the early days, in fact, community managers used to say that neither growing up was very complicated nor was it getting good engagement data.
But has the moment already arrived when the organic begins to decay and the social network begins to position its ads?
Notices and comments at this address start to happen. A few weeks ago, an estimate appeared, based on data from an agency specializing in marketing with influencers, in which it was pointed out that not only the impressions that were achieved but also the engagement had fallen.
The organic reach was falling, although there were no apparent objective reasons for the contents that they published to have less positive records. Added to that, the publications were buried faster and faster by Instagram. One consultant was already pointing out that his perception was that Instagram was doing what Facebook had done in 2014, reducing the organic reach and selling ads.
The ads in Explore are not good news
The latest news that Instagram makes also make waiting for a fall of organic reach seem inevitable. That Instagram is filling its function Explore with ads makes the industry start counting the hours until the organic eclipse. The analysts of eMarketer are, in fact, the new voice that has added to this forecast.
Entrepreneurs can expand their advertising campaigns on Instagram “reaching new audiences that seek to discover something new”, as explained by the social network from its website for companies. The new ads in the tab are displayed in the ‘feed’ of Explora publications, and even allow you to make purchases directly from the app through a dedicated button. The social network has explained that the function will be introduced in “the next months”. Instagram will enter ads in your Explore tab
According to Instagram, 50 percent of users of the social network use Explora every month. Ads that appear on the Instagram account can be modified and adjusted by either hiding specific ads, reporting ads, or adjusting device settings or Facebook ad preferences.
“The fact that the scope may be falling on Instagram is an important issue, but one for which marketers should be prepared,” says Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at eMarketer. In fact, Williamson also establishes a parallel between Facebook and Instagram and points out that those who know what happened in the first years ago should know that the future of the second is the same. “Marketers have to expect that paying to reach consumers on Instagram will become more and more necessary,” he adds.
Perhaps, yes, the adaptation time will be less. The process may go faster. Instagram’s revenue from advertising is growing faster than Facebook did (or does). For this year and for the US market, eMarketer estimates that Instagram will grow at a rate of 46.8%. Facebook will do it at 11.2%.